One of the most common parts of parenting is wondering if your children are listening. This never changes. Never. Just when you think that they are getting it they go and remind you that you really have no idea what is going on between their ears. Take these two exchanges today with our friendly neighborhood six-year-old Zoologist.
Whenever the Zoologist does his homework his mother has been teaching him to, “Do the hard stuff first.” We want him to learn to tackle the hard stuff rather than just putting it off. His dad is a writer so procrastination is in his blood, but we are doing everything we can to counteract that. Since we have to tell him this every time he has homework during the school year we really feel like he isn’t listening.
This summer, may dad, affectionately known as Opa, has been doing a number of woodworking projects for the kids. He has made several different things, and now the Zoologist has decided that he wants around two dozen pinewood derby style cars that have been designed to look like different animals. The Zoologist has a manila envelope full of sheets of paper that he has drawn his version of designs for these vehicles. The favorite that he has planned so far is a vehicle that looks like a chameleon and has a button on the side that you can push for its tongue to extend from the front of the car.
Today my parents were at our house and the Zoologist was going over his schematics with Opa. How to actually produce these vehicles requires much more technical expertise than any of us have, so Opa was telling Micah that we might have to start with one of the simpler cars and just see how it goes. Micah looked at him dead in the eyes and said, “Mom always tells me to do the hard stuff first.” I’m not sure how Opa is going to get out of that one.
A little after this conversation with my dad the Zoologist was cross-examining me about why we cannot purchase a bamboo shark. He and I have had this conversation several times lately. He really wants an aquarium in our house with a bamboo shark. Repeatedly I have discussed the fact that we do not have the money or room for a salt-water aquarium or the fish to fill it. Again, today I explained to him that we do not have the thousands upon thousands of dollars this would take, much less anywhere to put the aquarium. After hearing the same dad speech from me for probably the fourth or fifth time he looked down for a minute and said, “I guess it is still up in the air a little bit,” and promptly ran off to play. Somehow he got that from me saying never in a million years.
No. They aren’t listening, except for when they are.